The Melksham, Calne and Chippenham Branch
of the
 Wilts & Berks Canal Trust


Press Releases  Back
October 2014

New Canal offers Ambitious Opportunities for Melksham

As a result of the very positive public responses and predicted economic benefits for Melksham, co-ordinators of the Melksham Link Project have recently been looking at the option of widening the scope of possible canal-side developments when the new waterway is developed. Outline suggestions include residential developments, a marina, recreational areas, a visitor centre and wildlife areas.

Spokesman for the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, Paul Lenaerts, said:
“These ideas are very much at the outline stage only. There will obviously need to be a great deal of discussion and negotiation with landowners, local councils and statutory authorities, as well as consultations with the local community.

“However, the concept of widening the scope of the project to include recreational and wildlife areas, as well as residential developments, is very exciting, and would present more opportunities for community involvement and leisure activities.

“The Economic Benefit Study, produced last spring, predicted an annual benefit to Melksham’s economy of between £2 million and £3 million based on the original development plans. The more ambitious ideas would significantly increase these predictions, but would require co-operation from all stakeholders.”

The planning application for the construction of the waterway itself was submitted in September 2012. There were many responses from the public in support of the scheme, plus a few objections, and after all environmental, engineering and archaeological studies have been completed, it is hoped that consent for the Melksham Link will be given in spring 2015. When planning consent is granted the Trust intends to start work on two phases to implement the scheme: the new junction with the Kennet & Avon Canal at Semington, and the hydro scheme for Melksham weir. Agreements with landowners and funding for the scheme are still to be finalised.

The Melksham Independent News will make every effort to ensure that residents are kept informed of developments in this very exciting project which will have such an impact on the future of the town and its surroundings.

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